Local Government Magazine
Water services reform

Northland councils whakakahore Government’s water reforms

The Northland Transportation Alliance - LG Dec 2016

Far North mayor and LGNZ board member John Carter is taking concerns over the Government’s three water reform to the next LGNZ board meeting and says an increasing number of councils around the country had approached him with their own concerns about a lack of clarification of the costs of restructuring.

He fears people of the Far North would pay massive water bills in the future with the Government’s plans to put the Far North District Council, Whangarei District Council, Kaipara District Council, and Auckland Council’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater functions into a single entity, taking over those water services currently provided by 67 councils.

The FNDC could get $35.1 million if it opts into the restructuring before the end of the year, but Carter says more than $300 million of intergenerational ratepayer-funded water infrastructure will be taken out of council ownership. It is important communities still have influence over water decisions, he says.

Kerikeri’ councillor David Clendon says the Government cannot promise ratepayer-funded Three Waters infrastructure will remain in public ownership when transferred to the new entity as, “any Thursday afternoon in Parliament, that legislation can be overturned”.

The Whangarei District Council agrees with its neighbours, and was the first council to reject the opt-in government proposal.

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